Content Using Ten Frames to Add
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Basics on the topicUsing Ten Frames to Add

Ten frames are charts with two equal rows of five. They have ten spaces in total. When we place counters in those spaces, we can see different numbers within ten. Ten frames are useful to illustrate additions to twenty. For example, the number six has six counters in a ten frame. Each box has one marker, or counter, and there are six in all.

If we fill up the entire ten frame, it means we have a set of ten! When we see a full ten frame, we know the amount is ten right away without having to count!

We can use a ten frame horizontally or vertically. It works the same both ways because the amount of spaces does not change.

Addition with Ten Frames – Example

Why do we use ten frames in addition? Modeling addition using a ten frame helps children visualize the numbers you are adding together. Since each number is represented on the ten frame, it allows children to count out their answers.

Let’s use the example three plus two. Start by showing the first number, three, in counters on the ten frame.

Then, show the second number, two, on the ten frame using counters again.

Now, count ALL the filled spaces on the ten frame.There are five counters in all, so three train cars plus two train cars equals five train cars.

Ten frames can help you when you are doing additions up to 20. In order to visualize addition using ten frames, you need to do the following:

Step # What to do
1 Look at the first number in the problem and
put that many counters on the ten frame.
2 Then, look at the second number and put
that many more counters on.
3 Finally, count all the filled spaces on
the ten frame and write the answer.
• If a ten frame is full, you know you have ten without needing to count.
• If you fill up one ten frame, and still have more counters left, use another ten frame.

Have you practised yet? After watching the video, you can also find interactive exercises, worksheets and more activities on ten frame addition.

The Hamtrack Express is almost ready for its first passengers. Conductor Squeaks just has to figure out how many carriages to add. We can help him by "Using a Tens Frame to Add". A tens frame is a chart with two equal rows of five with ten spaces in total. When we place counters in those spaces, we can see different numbers within ten. For example, the number six looks like THIS in a tens frame. Each box has one marker, and there are six in total. If we fill up the entire tens frame, it means we have a set of ten! When we see a FULL tens frame, we know the amount is ten right away without having to count! We can use a tens frame like this or like this. It works the same both ways because the amount of spaces does not change. Now, let's help Mr. squeaks add his train carriages together!' His first choice is to add three carriages plus two more. He can use a tens frame to solve this problem. Start by showing the first number, three, in counters on the tens frame. Then, show the second number, two, on the tens frame using counters again. Now, count ALL the filled spaces on the tens frame. There are five counters in all, so three train carriages plus two train carriages equals five train carriages. Conductor Squeaks could add five train carriages to the track! Next, he wants to try adding seven carriages plus three more. Let's show the FIRST number, seven, in counters on the tens frame. Then, let's show the second number, three, in counters next to the ones already there. Now, count ALL the filled spaces on the tens frame. WAIT! We don't have to count this time! The tens frame is FULL, which means there are ten in all. So seven train carriages plus three train carriages equals ten! Conductor Squeaks could add ten train carriages to the tracks! Finally, he wants to try adding nine carriages plus four more. What do we do first?

First, we show nine counters on the tens frame. What comes next?

Next, show four more counters on the tens frame. Uh-oh! It's full, but we have three counters left. What can we do? We can use ANOTHER tens frame and put the rest of the counters there! NOW, we count ALL the filled spaces on BOTH tens frames. Since we have a full tens frame, we can start counting at the number ten and continue with the second frame. Eleven, twelve, thirteen! Nine train carriages plus four train carriages equals thirteen train carriages! Conductor Squeaks could add thirteen train carriages to the track! Before we see how many carriages he decided to add, let's remember. Today we learned to add using a tens frame! Tens frames are charts with ten spaces that help us see numbers within ten. To use them to add, look at the first number in the problem and put that many counters on the tens frame. Then, look at the second number and put that many more counters on. Finally, count ALL the filled spaces on the tens frame and write the answer. If a tens frame is full, you know you have ten without needing to count. If you fill up one tens frame, and still have more counters left, use another tens frame. Look there goes Conductor Squeaks! He decided to add ten carriages, but where has Imani been?

Using Ten Frames to Add exercise

Would you like to apply the knowledge you’ve learnt? You can review and practice it with the tasks for the video Using Ten Frames to Add.
• Can you complete the addition number sentence?

Hints

How many red carriages are there? This is the first number.

How many yellow carriages are there? This is the second number.

How many spots are there altogether in the tens frame? This is the answer.

Solution

3 + 4 = 7

There were 3 red carriages so we put 3 in the first box. There were 4 yellow carriages so we put 4 in the second box. In total, there are 7 spots in the tens frame, therefore there are 7 carriages altogether.

As this is an addition problem, it does not matter which order the addends, or numbers we are adding go.

We could also have put 4 + 3 = 7.

• How many altogether?

Hints

Look at the shape the spots are making to think about which number they are representing. Remember, if the tens frame is full we know that it equals 10.

How many spots are there in each tens frame altogether?

For example, here we have 2 red spots and 2 yellow spots, which is 4 altogether.

Solution
• 2 + 4 = 6
• 4 + 5 = 9
• 1 + 7 = 8
• 7 + 3 = 10
• Which tens frame can help us solve the problem?

Hints

Which two numbers are we adding together? Which tens frame shows these two numbers?

How many red carriages are there? This is the number of red spots there should be in the tens frame.

How many yellow carriages are there? This is the number of yellow spots there should be in the tens frame.

Solution

This is the correct tens frame as there are:

• 2 red spots to represent the 2 red carriages
• 7 yellow spots to represent the 7 yellow carriages
We can see that it is adding 2 + 7, or 7 + 2.

• Use the tens frames to find the answers.

Hints

How many of each colour of spots are in each picture? These are the numbers you are looking for in the number sentence.

How many spots are there altogether in the tens frames? This is the answer to the number sentence.

For example, here we have:

• 10 red spots
• 7 purple spots
• 17 spots altogether
Therefore the number sentence would be 10 + 7 = 17.

Solution

Here we can see that:

• 6 + 6 = 12
• 10 + 6 = 16
• 6 + 8 = 14
• 10 + 10 = 20

• How many carriages on the train?

Hints

We are adding 3 and 5 together, so the answer will be bigger than either of these numbers.

Look at the tens frame. How many spots altogether?

Solution

Mr. Squeaks has 8 carriages altogether on this train.

• 5 + 3 = 8
• 3 + 5 = 8
• What is the total in each of these tens frames?

Hints

Look at the amount of spaces the spots take up. Which number is this equal to?

How many spots are in each set of tens frames altogether?

Solution

Here we can see the combinations that totalled each of the numbers.